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In the wake of the Government announcing its new Back to Work Plan, designed to help those out of work to start, stay and succeed in employment, job seekers across County Durham are benefitting from support from a new employability partnership.

 

Durham Employment Connections (DEC), which launched in Summer 23, is a partnership between Durham County Council’s Employability Durham, Business Durham and DurhamWorks services, and regional housing associations Livin’, believe housing and Karbon Homes.

 

Together the partners are working collaboratively with County Durham businesses to address their labour shortages, by supporting local job seekers to develop the skills and experience needed to fill those gaps.

 

Suzanne Jobson, Foundations for Life Manager at Karbon Homes, which is the overall lead deliverer of the project, said: “Through the Back to Work Plan the Government aims to support 1 million people who are either long-term unemployed or who have long-term health conditions to re-enter the workforce. The challenge of achieving this is massive, so it’s never been more important that job seekers have access to quality employability support, that helps them to not only find work but to succeed in the role.”

 

“Strong partnerships between employment support providers and local businesses are key to this. The skills of job seekers needs to match the labour needs of businesses, otherwise people’s ability to succeed in work is massively hindered. As support providers we’re able to bridge the gap.”

 

As part of its work, DEC has set up a series of employability events across the county. To date its welcomed over 200 people to its job fairs, connected a number of local businesses, including Amazon, NHS Durham and Darlington, Stagecoach, Aldi, Durham Constabulary and Durham University, with local job seekers and helped 16 people secure work.

 

One participant said:

“I have been invited for two interviews with Auxillas and ResQ since leaving my details at the job fair at Peterlee. It was one of the best jobs fairs I have ever been to as there were actual jobs there to apply for!”

 

Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said:

 

“Events like these provide a seamless connection between businesses looking for talent, the individuals looking for opportunities and all the wrap around support that is available to help our residents to access the opportunities available.  I would encourage any business looking to grow its workforce to take part in the events that will be taking place in its area.”

 

Funded by Durham County Council’s Area Action Partnerships, DEC has set up the ‘Durham Employability Forum’, regularly bringing together over 40 employment and skills organisations from across the county to network and focus on key themes such as the cost of living crisis, women in the workplace, labour shortages in key industries, inclusion in the workplace and more.

 

The forum also welcomes guest speakers to provide their own insight. Recent guests have included Amy Quirk, UKI Candidate Generation Lead for Amazon, Ailsa Anderson, Director of Development for Engineering and Manufacturing Network (EMN), Russell Nichol, Commissioner for Durham Care Academy, and Nik Turner, Executive Director of believe housing.

 

If you’re interested in working with DEC or want to know more about their upcoming forums and job fairs, you can find more information and get in touch by following them on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/showcase/durham-employment-connections.

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